Tribpedia: Kirk Watson

Wining and Dining Disclosure Bills Advance

Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston, discuss language to amendment for SB #11 relating to campus carry on March 18th, 2015
Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston, discuss language to amendment for SB #11 relating to campus carry on March 18th, 2015

Bills designed to shed more light on wining and dining of politicians by lobbyists and contractors advanced in the Texas Legislature Monday.

Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston, discuss language to amendment for SB #11 relating to campus carry on March 18th, 2015
Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston, discuss language to amendment for SB #11 relating to campus carry on March 18th, 2015

Lawmakers in No Rush to Disclose Wining and Dining

Two bills aimed at requiring disclosure of lobbyist wining and dining are on the verge of being snuffed out in the Senate State Affairs Committee, according to the sponsor of the measures. That's despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s vow a few weeks ago to “dedicate this session to ethics reform."

Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays is shown with resident Rebecca Hadnot in 2011.
Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays is shown with resident Rebecca Hadnot in 2011.

Senate Votes to Close Austin Institution

The Austin State Supported Living Center will be the first closed, but more are to come as the state continues moving away from residential centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Tax Cut Measures Headed to Full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to send proposals cutting property taxes and business taxes to the full Senate, though some senators questioned whether the property tax cuts could be better spent in other ways.

Greg Abbott is shown visiting the Senate chamber on Jan. 13, 2015.
Greg Abbott is shown visiting the Senate chamber on Jan. 13, 2015.

Abbott Expected to Renew Push for Ethics Reform

Advocates for ethics reform say Gov. Greg Abbott has a rare chance to help spearhead improved lawmaker disclosures and reduce conflicts of interest in Texas. Abbott, who proposed ethics reform during the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, is expected to address the issue Tuesday in his State of the State address.

Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, debates changes that would affect the so-called "two-thirds rule" in the Texas Senate on Jan. 21, 2015.
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, debates changes that would affect the so-called "two-thirds rule" in the Texas Senate on Jan. 21, 2015.

Watson Wants More Disclosure of Wining and Dining

Sen. Kirk Watson has filed three bills that would close a gaping loophole in state ethics law that allows lobbyists — often under pressure from legislators — to avoid naming names when they fill out their mandatory spending and entertainment reports. 

A 2013 look at at a boat dock at Lake Travis, whose water level has decreased markedly amid a historic drought. Lake Travis is part of the Central Texas' Highland Lakes.
A 2013 look at at a boat dock at Lake Travis, whose water level has decreased markedly amid a historic drought. Lake Travis is part of the Central Texas' Highland Lakes.

At "Kumbaya" Meeting, New Colorado River Plan Passes

The Lower Colorado River Authority approved a new plan on Wednesday to manage the Colorado River and its reservoirs, known as the Highland Lakes. Cities and environmental advocates were happy with the plan, but some coastal farmers expressed disappointment.

 

Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks to supporters at Lavazza Espression on Congress Avenue in Austin.
Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks to supporters at Lavazza Espression on Congress Avenue in Austin.

Farmers Insurance PAC Gives to Abbott Amid Lawsuit

Critics of Attorney General Greg Abbott say the state's top lawyer has not fairly represented Texas homeowners who were charged too much by an insurance company whose employees' PAC has given generously to his campaign. Abbott, his campaign and Farmers Insurance contend a proposed settlement agreement is fair.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after her April 2013 drunken driving arrest, and Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the public integrity unit, which is housed in the Travis County DA's office.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after her April 2013 drunken driving arrest, and Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the public integrity unit, which is housed in the Travis County DA's office.

The Brief: Perry Lawyers Up in Veto Threat Probe

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that Gov. Rick Perry has hired a defense lawyer to represent him in an ongoing investigation into his veto of funding for the Public Integrity Unit housed in the Travis County DA's office.

Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013.
Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013.

The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for Jan. 6, 2014

Your evening reading: Democrats continue criticism of proposed state regulations of health navigators; critics of new abortion law face tough questions at 5th Circuit; judge says Texas Supreme Court justice can stay on ballot